Avoid A&E unless absolutely necessary

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Avoid A&E unless absolutely necessary

People are being urged to stay away from hospital A&E departments unless it is a genuine emergency.

Hospitals everywhere are under pressure as they work to cope with an increase in demand following the Christmas and New Year break.

The recent colder weather has also been a factor in the number of vulnerable patients being admitted for treatment.

Locally, Dr Rebecca Mallard Smith, who is Clinical Director for Urgent Care, for the two Clinical Commissioning Groups in Bucks and a practising GP in Prestwood said: “The Accident and Emergency departments only have the capacity to treat people who have serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions and ambulances should only be called in genuine emergencies. But we would like to reassure people that emergency cases will be seen and treated as usual, with priority given to those with greatest clinical need.

“Please do not attend hospitals with common winter illnesses, such as chest infections, coughs and colds, diarrhoea or vomiting. If you think you have the flu, the best remedy is usually to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary. Stay off work or school until you’re feeling better. For most people, this will take about a week. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if symptoms persist or are severe, but there is no benefit in attending A&E unless you are advised to do so.”

Services you should try include consulting with your local pharmacist and using the www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk symptom checker, advice and signposting service, or NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk

If you think you need to see a GP urgently but your surgery is closed you can access the GP Out of Hours service through NHS 111. Trained advisors will be able to help and book you an appointment if your problem cannot wait until your surgery is open.

Don’t forget the Minor Illness and Injury Unit at Wycombe is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Always phone 999 or go to accident and emergency for life threatening conditions like:

  • Unconsciousness or difficulty breathing
  • Serious head injuries
  • Heart attack, severe chest pain or stroke
  • Obvious broken bones
  • Deep cuts that won’t stop bleeding
  • Accidentally swallowed medicines or dangerous liquids
  • A rash that doesn’t disappear when pressed with a glass
  • Severe burns and scalds
  • Fitting or concussion
  • Severe allergic reactions

You can dial 111 free of charge for advice if you need urgent medical help and are not sure what to do. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.